Good CO2 laser maintenance boils right down to keeping the machine clean. This includes the beam route and cooling system. Brent Donner has some stories to tell when it comes to CO2 laser slicing machine maintenance: dusty optics, burned up resonator tubes, blocked filtration systems, gunk on the gaskets within the lowering head–you name it, he’s seen it.
No marvel the machines aren’t reducing like they used to.
Along with DLC Developing & Fabrication, Donner has another business called Donner Laser Consulting for which he has journeyed the country to bring worn out lasers back to life, sometimes to conditions much better than these were new.
To start, Donner talks to the laser cutter operator about his zoom lens changing and cleaning regimen. Will he blow the slicing brain cavity out before adding it back in the machine? Some machines have a blow nozzle privately just for this purpose. When a blow nozzle isn’t available, an operator can find an unused slot and put one on.
A common rubber light (like a baby snot remover) sometimes does the trick, though this solution isn’t ideal. The bulb has a little flap in the back to sketch air involved with it, which isn’t good if you have soiled shop air. You might wrap up blowing dirty shop air directly into the most notable of the zoom lens.
“This is why I take advantage of a little filtration to ensure no contamination gets into the head from your blower nozzle,” Donner said “I bring it everywhere I go. If they don’t have a blower on the machine, I find an unused port [for the nitrogen purge] and create my very own blower nozzle.”
The Water COOLANT SYSTEM
Like the beam path, this inflatable water in the coolant system must be clean and also have the right amount of chemicals in it. If it generally does not, dirt, particles, and corrosion can build up on components that count on that water for chilling.
For example, consider the cooling down water running right through the CO2 laser’s incurred cathodes. In the event the water isn’t as clean as it ought to be, those cathodes can be contaminated.
Basic coolant system maintenance includes flushing this annually and changing the chiller filter every six months. Also, make sure the chiller’s air chilling is working properly and that the comforters are closed. Otherwise, debris from shop air can make it into the system.
A Money-saving Routine
Making sure the machine is clean to commence with is actually the key to everything. When the beam avenue is pristine, lens changeouts arise properly, and the chiller water is placed clean and constant, most components in a laser cutter should stay clean as well.
Half the battle is just focusing on how to keep the system clean, and what components to check on during preventive maintenance. If everything is as it ought to be through the next PM circuit, you’ll need only to inspect and clean components–not spend thousands of dollars, or more, replacing laser cutter.